On Thursday, June 11th, Honda made a bold move to connect and brand Millennials. I was invited to join in on the exciting kick off of Honda’s new music platform “Honda Stage“. The whole shindig was opened by Ellen K, who riffed on Ryan Seacrest and pointed out to us all the great technology and entertainment synergy of the new “Honda Stage” platform. Jeff Conrad filled us in on the deets and the number and Tom Peyton sold us passionately on the music and the experience that is Honda Stage would provide for the music fan.
The whole idea of Honda Stage is a curatorial experience online and live that pulls together video, news, interviews and performance content via the dedicated Honda Stage Channel and distributed through multiple music channels, with dozens of live shows, the Civic Tour and many music festival sponsorships Honda has synergized with. To get an idea of the grandness of scale, besides the above varied platforms integrating all this content, Honda plans on booking 200 concerts a year with buzzy new up and coming bands. That means lots of content for all the platforms mentioned above and the weighty elements of live performances engaging audience in real time. I’m gonna go geeky here and say they expect to have billions of impressions from the new Honda Stage experience.
The other players or partners in entertainment and technology with Honda are: Clear Channel with iHeartRadio, Live Nation, REVOLT, Vevo and YouTube. They have all been looped in to create the best original, highest quality live musical and exclusive online content. Honda with last Wednesday’s announcement of Honda Stage has has put them in the position of being the largest music curator who’s cutting through the clutter to reach young buyers through new media that can’t be reach through traditional advertising. Honda is call it “360-degree, multi-platform music program.”
Honda closed the press conference with a stellar presentation: that only an auto juggernaut like Honda could pull off. The presentation didn’t stop with the press conference. Honda wanted to set the stage the right way, for us, by engaging us further by inviting us over to Studio 540 for a special live experience and performances by the bands Honda intends to use to reach out to Millennials. Studio 540 was a combination of a small club and production studio. It was a great space for a showcase and the stage stood at 4 ft. off the ground! Ellen K, Ryan Seacrest‘s radio co-host, who had shared her thoughts at the press conference earlier, joined our troupe via the stage to do her duty as a radio/music professional and to introduce the first band of the showcase, Group Love. Group Love found their footing on the stage and then jumped into their set. The band fronted a female lead, Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi who also sings lead too, as well as, manned the guitar. Group Love are a lively bunch, shooting out contemporary Alternative Rock with lots of rapid fire stage presence. They were an acrobatic bunch too, but nothing like Perry Farrell during the glorious early heydays of Jane’s Addiction’s. But nonetheless, they were sporty: full of bendy antics, where Hannah explored amazing get down positions, while belting out the tunes. They had a bright sunny sound with a heavy drive on the beat. At times they approached their songs as a duet and then at other times, Hannah or Christian would individually take charge at the front of the stage to deliver the goods. They closed their set with the somewhat darker, yet funny song Ways To Go. It was a good mid-tempo romp that played well for the oncoming acts!
Next on board with the Latino group 3Ball MTY, a DJ collective, spread their DJing love over to our left in Studio 540, sans the stage, spinning a mix of Tribal-Guarachero, Latin House and smidgen of Dubstep from the floor. You could tell these guys (Erick Rincon, Sergio Zavala (DJ Sheeqo Beat), and Alberto Presenda (DJ Otto) were serious about what was being thrown down. The audience, a mix, of press and Honda employees were eating it up! The guys, traded places, taking their turns on the wheels of steel, driving the bass and locking in the beats. Soon they mixed it up by adding a rather lovely female singer. This is when my mind digressed to Tijuana No, who integrated a female singer in their lineup, over a decade ago, to broaden the scope and appeal of their music. I think in this way Tijuana No had their influence on the Latin community. She was energized, sexy and put a lot of punch into 3Ball MTY’s showcase. The upcoming Civic Tour will be a great kick off and launch their new album Globall.
Our finale serenade came form the American Authors. This tight knit, all male, ensemble rolled on the stage and hit the groove immediately! The energized set had them all owning the stage, while Zac Barnett was the point and nexus of all that energy. He had presence and he was able to deliver the high notes with the right moves, while the band drove a tight back up. American Author’s had more of a sing-a-long vibe with their songs, that echoes the sensibilities, of say, the early The Police, without the reggae overtones or Stings weaker vocal capabilities. American Authors were a little bit more “Hipstery” with their sound: that is, jangly guitar and odd styled electric folky styled vocals. American Authors were more straight forward musically, than Group Love’s Alternative vibe, but both were polished and seasoned enough for a really big breakthrough, if that opportunity presents itself. It’s possible that Honda Stage might be that vehicle for that next level! Zac was comfortable in this set. So much so, he jumped down into the audience to give those close at hand some one on one love. As quickly as he had gone down he was up again pulling everything together to its inevitable conclusion. The band snapped off the last few notes of their hit Best Day of My Life. Then they all pulled toward the center of the stage, where then Zac lifted a victorious peace sign above his head before he and the band exited the stage.
Honda surely pulled out all the stops and detailed a powerful presentation keenly targeted towards Millennials or anyone that likes to stay current about music. I found the whole process engaging and the bands top notch. But will any of these bands achieve the legendary status of The Buzzcock, Sex Pistols, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Iggy Pop or David Bowie. The answer is probably not, but only time will tell. Has Honda thought out a great and entertaining way to relate and engage a new generation, hungry for music and excitement, I have to give this a hearty yes! The Honda Stage 360-degree, multi-platform music program has some great stand alone music that Millennial can relate to. This is an exciting idea that circumnavigates traditional media and Honda has capture the zeitgeist of our technological times!